The starting point for this week’s book was a stack of manila-type envelopes that have gone through a number of uses– from enclosing letters to acting as folders for assorted papers.  At some point I realized that the paper has a nice, sturdy quality and I like the warm golden color too, so why throw them out?   Recycling these envelopes into book pages is another way to extend their life, but also to give immediate meaning to a text block that would otherwise be a series of blank sheets.

As with my last scrappy book, I first cut the envelopes down to a uniform size, bone-folded them, and pressed them in a press.  I decided to bind them together with my favorite binding of late, the ‘Secret Belgian Binding.’  This is another binding that I’ve learned through my network of book-binding friends with directions passed on by Hedi Kyle, who deciphered the original bindings and passed on the ‘secret.’  Directions can also be found on Wikipedia, if you want to try this at home.  For the cover paper I chose a lithograph that I had made from one of my photos of coiled barbed wire, but that didn’t print very well on that particular paper.  This image has meaning for me in that there are memories of a place attached, and I thought the color would compliment the warm colors of the envelope pages.

here’s how it went:

folded sections

folded sections

covers and spine, glued up and ready to go

covers and spine, glued up and ready to go

cover sewn together

cover sewn together

closed book

closed book

finsihed book with pages sewn in

finsihed book with pages sewn in

manila, white, & gray envelope pages

manila, white, & gray envelope pages

spine

spine

As for what will fill this book, I’m still deciding.   I do feel less of the fear of blank pages than I might, just by having the odd addresses and postmarks already breaking up some of the pages for me–I’ll keep you posted!

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